My Vendetta Against Costco

From the title of this post, it’s pretty clear that I hate Costco.  *Gasp!*  But it’s true.  And trust me, hate is not a word I use lightly.  But judging by the fact that Costco is apparently the 5th largest retailer in the U.S., my hatred of Costco is fairly unique.  So, please hear me out.  =)


What, Pray Tell, Do I Hate So Much?

There are tons of reasons of non-vendetta creating reasons that Costco rubs me the wrong way, like:

  • The gargantuan lines for everything from the gas pumps to the check-out and everything in between
  • The oversized packages that encourage us to over consume – take my Skinny Cow Dilemma and multiply it by a factor of 10 for Costco-sized packaging
  • All the Costco stores are far away and require driving on roads with awful traffic patterns, which only makes the next seem even worse…
  • Costco parking lots seem to be designed to slide in between Levels 4 and 5 in Dante’s Circles of Hell  (For those who avoided this reading in Freshman English, that puts it right in between Level 4 housing those who  “lived greedily and insatiably, or who stockpiled their fortunes, hoarding everything and sharing nothing” and Level 5 where the residents “are forever lashing out at each other in anger, furious and naked*, tearing each other piecemeal with their teeth.”)
  • Why couldn’t they keep the name Price Club?  It seemed like such a friendlier place when the stores were called Price Club.

But these aren’t really all that bad, and if shopping there really saved us money over watching for sales and clipping coupons from the Sunday paper, I might be tempted to give it another shot.  But for this one thing.

Costco Tried To Screw With Our Credit

What?!?  Okay, so here’s the backstory.

About a year before we got married, Mr. PoP needed tires for his car.  Shopping around, Costco tires were the best deal – even after accounting for the fact that he would need to buy a membership to get them.  So he did.

He bought a 1-year membership and bought some tires.  And that was it.  Or so he (we?) thought.

We went to Costco a couple of times during that year, since bulk protein powder was cheaper there.  But our overall purchases were not enough to justify a membership if we weren’t going to be buying tires every year.

… fast forward to about 6 months into our marriage, and don’t forget, this was when Mr. PoP was making minimum wage, so the budget was tight …

We get a weird envelope that – honestly! – looked like junk mail, so I’m very glad that I didn’t just trash it.  What was in the envelope, but a notice of collections saying Mr. PoP was past due on his American Express credit card.  Back then, we didn’t have the AmEx Everyday Blue rewards card that we now use.  We didn’t have any American Express card to my knowledge.  So trying not to freak out, I asked Mr. PoP what was going on with his AmEx bill.

“What AmEx bill?”


What AmEx Bill, Indeed!?!

Calls with the collections agency got me the account number for the “AmEx card” that was in Mr. PoP’s name.  Here, AmEx card is in quotes because in our eyes this thing never existed.

Costco signed Mr. PoP up for an AmEx, and then AUTO-RENEWED his Costco membership on that account.  The overdue bill that was sent to collections was something like $80 (or $100?  I can’t remember the exact number) that Costco had charged to auto-renew a membership we never used.  This actually took a fair amount of unwinding to figure out, but basically it looks like something akin to this happened.

  • Mr. PoP must have signed up for a Costco AmEx with his membership.  Though he has no recollection of ever doing this, we do concede he probably did sign a dotted line at some point and an overzealous membership salesperson likely glossed over what he was actually signing up for on that page.
  • Mr. PoP NEVER received an AmEx card in the mail.
  • And obviously never called to activate any AmEx card.  (AmEx could tell this from their records.  The line I was fed was that the card was never activated, but somehow the account was activated by Costco?  Weird, right?)
  • We also NEVER received a bill from Costco saying that the membership we didn’t use would be auto-renewed.  (We didn’t think that was a possibility since they didn’t have our credit card on file… or so we thought!)
  • He also NEVER received an AmEx bill.
  • Obviously, our first notice of this drama was from the collections agency.

Costco was kindof a jerk about it, too.  It took several tries to get them to admit that we had not actively renewed anything and hadn’t been to Costco since we believed the membership was expired.  But they finally agreed to take back the charge, and when the charge was waived the AmEx bill became $0, and was withdrawn from collections.  So it worked out, but it was a complete pain in the butt.


I’m NOT saying Mr. PoP and I are totally blameless on this.  After all, if I had pulled both of our credit reports when we first got married, there probably would have been an AmEx card listed on Mr. PoP’s report that could have initiated a discussion along the lines of:

 “WTF is this AmEx card?  Are you hiding stuff from me already?”

Okay, I don’t really talk like that.  But you get the picture.  We could have been more proactive on this and we weren’t.  Our bad.

But I really hold it against Costco, too.  (Hence, the vendetta.)  Because how does an intelligent guy who just wants to buy some tires end up having a phantom credit card?  To me, that means that their membership sales practices aren’t nearly as upfront as they need to be.  (Or at least they weren’t in 2008.  We haven’t been back recently to test them out.)

I know some of you out there, like Cash Rebel have had success with Costco.  But I have a hard time getting past this and feeling okay about supporting a business that I feel has been more than a tad sketchy in its past dealings with the PoPs.

* Costo shoppers aren’t usually in the buff… Seriously…imagine that!


What’s your experience with Costco?  Have you ever knowingly done business with a company that you feel is a bit sketchy?  

74 comments to My Vendetta Against Costco

  • CR

    Wow, an experience like that really would make me reject CostCo for life. I love your definition of the parking lot… it fits way too well. It’s really entertaining watching other people’s carts.
    CR recently posted..The Cash Rebel Net Worth Pie ChartMy Profile

    • Haha, my favorites are the singletons that come out of Costco pushing one cart while pulling another flatbed full of stuff. How they ever thought they could maneuver that successfully is beyond me, but those same people shop at Lowes and Home Depot, too!

  • Not liking Costco = not popular. They are a corporate america sweetheart. We broke up with them last year, after I’d had enough of their shenanigans.

    Although, I can’t say I dont miss the prices sometimes.

    • Ooh, read your post. Definitely not a fan of buying elections as a corporate practice. That doesn’t really jive with their corporate persona, so it’s a bit surprising.

  • Kasey

    Seems like any company can screw a person over these days. If I didn’t know better I am sure i would have 10+ “reward” store credit cards because some of those sales pitches are good! I have a sam’s membership and Havnt had any problems. I try to only go when I know it’s not going to be crazy busy.

  • Kasey

    I prefer sam’s club. It seems to be less busy in my area. Plus I got my yearly membership for $40 plus a $20 gift card so I only really paid $20!

    • Did you know that you can just get a Costco gift card and shop in there without a membership card? I buy a stack of $20 gift cards at Costco and give them friends who only shop a Costco a few times a year.

      Me-I can’t give up Costco because they are the only place near me who sells organic chickens and apples. =)
      chubblywubbly recently posted..The 5 Best Things I Ate in HawaiiMy Profile

  • People seem obsessed with costco and I’ve been in there, but never a member. First, I’m just not a buy in bulk kind of person (I have no room in my tiny apt), and even when it’s something like buying new tires, I haven’t found then to be much cheaper than somewhere else. And yes the parking lot is the seventh circle of hell. Everyone seems cranky there.
    Budget and the Beach recently posted..Budgeters AnonymousMy Profile

    • I get the tiny apt thing. It’s definitely harder to buy in bulk when you have exactly 1 closet to hold all of your clothes and long-term storage =) Unless you want to use those 60 rolls of toilet paper as an ottoman in front of your couch.

  • “We’re all streakin’ at Costco!”

    I knew that Costco and American Express have a pretty cozy relationship, which must be what opens the doors to practices like this one. The sad thing is that when a company gets the size of Costco it’s hard to know what every employee is doing.

    That means that in my eyes where Costco really dropped the ball was on service recovery. The fact that they didn’t lavish you with help after the problem was exposed is a huge failing on their part.
    AverageJoe recently posted..Average Joe vs. Upside Down Teacups and Other NonsenseMy Profile

    • Haha, I thought about linking in a “people of Walmart” picture but decided nobody needed to see that stuff anyway =)

      Oddly that wasn’t the only time they dropped the ball on Customer Service with us. After reading your comment, I remembered one of the only times we bought actual food there was when we bought meat/cheese stuffs for a party we were throwing. After I set the salami out on the deli tray, people asked if it was good (the date on the box was fine), but people didn’t really eat it and it got thrown out. (I’m a vegetarian, so never ask me if meat smells fresh. It all smells pretty awful to me.)

      About a month later, we got a letter in the mail from Costco saying the salami had salmonella and that we should bring the letter in for a refund. When I did, the dude at Customer Service gave me a hard time that I didn’t have the salami with me. What should I have done, kept bad salami that people didn’t eat because it smelled bad? I’m just glad that our guests didn’t eat it – I would have felt awful if anyone had gotten sick.

  • Guess where we’re going right now? You guessed it! Costco!!!

    We don’t have a major store-crush on them, but we like stocking up for a few months at a time. We hate shopping trips, and Costco helps to solve that problem. ALSO, not to be a total contrarian, but we will actually be signing up for the Costco Amex card here in a few months once our JetBlue Amex fee comes up for renewal. But we’ll be signing up for it willingly, as opposed to your issue with them, which is totally justified.
    Johnny @ Our Freaking Budget recently posted..A Day Off (Hallelujah)My Profile

    • Hope you made it out of hell alive! =)

      Knowingly signing up for the Costco Amex, I totally get. If you’re already shopping there and the rewards are good, do what works for you!

  • Talley

    When I first moved in with a couple of high school buddies we had the ultimate bachelor pad, complete with Costco membership. Where else could we buy mass quantities of frozen waffles, ramen noodles and light beer?
    Once I got married and had kids though, we switched over to Sams Club. I’m not really sure why we made the switch, looking back. But for us the membership was worth it. We only bought a few key items there; diapers, wipes, baby formula, bulk meat, trash bags, and maybe a few other random household needs. After doing the math, we determined that over the period of a year the membership was worth the cost even if we only bought diapers there and nothing else.

    • Luckily we’re not bulk buying the diapers anytime soon. =) Though I’ve also heard good things about Amazon deals on diapers. But if it works for you, that’s what’s important.

  • Jonathan

    I’ve never had a bad experience with Costco. I especially like their return policy and that you can expect that the stuff they carry is high-quality (and if that turns out to be incorrect, you return it). There’s a new Costco not far from home and it’s not hard at all to get in and out (especially if you just park further away and walk a bit – this saves a ton of annoyance in the parking lot). We also eat there from time to time – you can’t go wrong at $1.50 for a big hot dog and soda.

    • My mom has her ideal “parking area” at the Costco nearest to them, around the corner from the loading dock. Sounds similar to yours where she pulls in the back entrance where the trucks go, parks there, and walks the few minutes to the entrance. The only time it stinks is in the rain!

  • I am not a big fan of these large warehouse stores. I have price compared numerous times on the things we regularly purchase and the membership is not justified. Sounds like they just screwed the pooch on this membership.
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..Want to Save Money? Here Are 13 Ways!My Profile

    • Yeah, I tend to think that there are few items that I can’t meet or beat Costco pricing by doing a reasonable amount of Sunday coupon clipping and watching for sales at our local grocery/Target.
      Take the oft cited example of dish soap. Costco has 100 loads of Finish brand on their website for $17.99, or $14 with a $4 coupon. But I just bought 2x 60 count boxes of the same stuff at Publix, when they were BOGO. So 2 boxes were $11.99, plus I had 2 $2.15 coupons from the manufacturer, and a Publix coupon for $10 off my order when it was over $80. (The dish soap put my order over $80, so score!)
      Even without the Publix coupon, I got 120 loads for $7.70 vs 100 loads for $14.

      • Elenor

        Good price for soap, but do you count the “opportunity” cost of scanning sales dates and scheduling your visit to hit the BOGO and also gathering and tracking coupons? I have been a Costco member almost since they began, out in Seattle. I shop there about weekly (no family; just me!); the rotisserie chicken, cheese, water (although they just quit carrying the kind I like {sob}), paper goods, office and production supplies for my mfg company. High quality, great prices.

        I DO have the AMEX, and my Costco pay-backs pay for my(~$100 a year) Executive membership every year — and Costco is switching to “VISA” on March 2016.

        I’m sorry you had trouble with your AMEX situation. However, I’m not sure it’s a correct financial decision (depending on what you buy in a month) to chuck a supplier because of one bad experience. (Funny, too, that you don’t blame **AMEX** at all: it wasn’t Costco who should have been sending you bills!)

        I have a Sam’s much closer to me than my (two) Costcos. I have been unimpressed with what Sam’s offers by comparison. {shrug} IF they offered as good or better, I might reconsider — nah, I wouldn’t! Costco does a hugely better job not screwing their employees (living wage, benefits, and so on) than the Walton’s (WalMart and Sam’s). No Costco employee needs food stamps!

        • Ha! I haven’t thought about this post in ages, but your comments made me return to it.

          I consider the opportunity cost of scanning ads and clipping a few coupons (something that adds maybe 10-15 minutes max to my leisurely weekly Sunday morning paper reading ritual) to be significantly less than the opportunity cost (in money, time, and sanity) of entering a Costco. It would take me at least those same minutes to drive to a Costco, much less to hike through the parking lot, wander the giant store, and then deal with the headache of the astronomical check-out lines. I certainly couldn’t ride my bike or walk there the way (their locations around here are definitely NOT SAFE to bike to and are much too far to walk) I can with all of the other grocery stores I go to, so using Costco regularly would also make being a one-car household the way we are more challenging.

          As for AmEx, maybe I don’t blame them because they were so reasonable about the mix-up and easy to work with. It was Costco that fought tooth and nail to keep the money for the auto-renewed membership that we had no knowledge of ever opting into.

          And no, I thought I was totally up front that I don’t consider us totally blameless in this, either. Mr PoP *should* have been more careful about what he was reading as a literate 25-year-old college grad. I *should* have run our credit reports before getting married. What can I say, we were younger and had a lot less to lose then. Seven years later, we track our credit scores monthly through a couple of sources and look at the reports at least once a year. We’ve learned our lesson.

          On the other hand, Costco couldn’t produce a piece of paper with Mr PoP’s signature agreeing to an auto-renewal or a credit card application, which is why AmEx was on our side with the charge-back. To me, this is either poor record keeping or an over-zealous membership salesperson checking boxes that should not have been checked after the fact. We cannot be sure. What we can be sure about is that the Costco employees that I spoke with about this matter were jerks. I believe I used more colorful language at the time after hanging up on the phone with them, but I’m trying to re-frame my memories more positively, so I’ll just remember them as “jerks” for now…

          I’d much rather give my grocery dollars to companies that treat customers with respect (namely, Publix and Trader Joes which are regarded as some of the best grocers in the country both for customers and employees and it’s true that “shopping is a pleasure”).

          I get you love Costco. A lot of people do. I don’t – for a lot of reasons. The credit card fiasco was just the cherry on top of the disaster sundae that is Costco in my mind. Luckily we’re all entitled to our own opinions. =)

  • We really, really like Costco – but we also have never signed up for an AmEx. If Dave Ramsey is to be believed (very questionable!) they are the worst of the worst of credit card offenders. So maybe Amex is more to blame than Costco?? Our membership is not automatically renewed, but rather you renew the next time you visit the store after it expires.

    As for the crowds, location, parking lot… Your experiences don’t jive with mine. The Durham Costco is actually quite close to our work so it’s easy to get there for a quick errand and our favorite grocery store is in the same complex so we hit both in the same trip. The weekends can get quite crowded with the free samples and such (I made the mistake of going on Superbowl Sunday!) but the weekdays are usually a breeze to get through the store and to checkout.

    Also, we mostly just buy meat and vegetables there – no problem to over-consume those!
    Emily @ evolvingPF recently posted..What’s an Impulse Purchase?My Profile

    • Just realized I sound really defensive of Costco… I guess what I mean to say is that I’m sorry they screwed with you and I’m glad we don’t have the same systemic problems with the convenience because I really like getting food there!
      Emily @ evolvingPF recently posted..What’s an Impulse Purchase?My Profile

      • Yeah, that’s the thing – I have no idea why the membership auto-renewed. My mom has been a Costco member for years, and when it expires, they make her add it to the total of her shopping the next time she’s in.

        I’m glad that Costco works for you – it’s nice to have a store that does. Luckily our other local stores are pretty great, so I’m definitely not in a food desert if I boycott Costco forever.

  • Wow, I think that I would have very similar feelings if that were to happen to me as well. We like Costco, but only to a certain extent. If you know what you’re shopping for then you can get some good deals…as long it’s something you’re going to use and it does actually turn out to be cheaper. Baby formula and cat litter are good examples of that. My beef with Costco is all their blasted samples. You’d think people had not seen food for weeks with how some act about them. People stand there clogging up lanes for people like us who just want to shop and then you get a glare because you need to move past them. I am going to leave the Executive Membership out of this, because I don’t want to pull out my soapbox. 😉
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..Taking the Plunge: Why I Love Being Self-EmployedMy Profile

    • haha, your comment on the samples people cracks me up because it hits so close to home…

      Mr. PoP’s parents are Sam’s club folks. Sometimes when they have nothing to do, they’ll say they’re headed to Sam’s for lunch. And they don’t mean a friend named Sam. Or even the food court at Sam’s Club. They mean the samples. Yup, they are those people!

  • We’re only a household of two so it’s hard to justify the membership, but I could see myself going down the line because I really like how they treat their employees since I have friends that work there that seem happy with it. But, that’s definitely shady with your situation… thanks for the warning of its dark side!
    anna recently posted..Revolutions Around the SunMy Profile

    • It definitely makes a difference when you’re shopping somewhere the employees are treated well. That’s one of the reasons I love our Publix so much – the employees, even down to the baggers, are treated very well.

  • We had a similar thing happen with a home improvement store – the nerve!!! I had to laugh when reading this, b/c my mom hates the warehouse stores too, for similar reasons. She says she feels like a common criminal when they check your receipt against your cart before you leave to make sure everything’s on the up and up, they don’t even give you bags for your stuff, and then you have to PAY them to go there! Drives her right up the wall :-)
    Laurie @ The Frugal Farmer recently posted..Beauty on the CheapMy Profile

    • Haha, Mr. PoP always said the same thing about the receipt! He’d throw it away or shove it in a pocket and not be able to find it and be a fuss-bucket at the door because the dude is standing there waiting with a highlighter. =)

  • Wowzers – that is pretty darn ridiculous! I sort of had a similar problem with Home Depot, in that I never received statements really and when I tried to cancel the card, it still showed up on my credit report the next year. However, in that case I had purposefully taken the card out to take advantage of a 0% financing offer with no fine print (except for the retroactive interest charges, if you don’t pay it off by the 12 months.)
    Anne @ Unique Gifter recently posted..Gazelle Carcass! A Gift Idea for MenMy Profile

  • I bought a costco membership my sophomore year of college thinking I could share the membership with all my roommates. It never materialized and I lost all my money because I never went back to Costco.
    I really do think costco and sam’s club should have a monthly membership like Netflix or Hulu.
    SavvyFinancialLatina recently posted..Are there cliches at your company?My Profile

    • BJ’s (an unfortunately named warehouse store) occasionally puts 1-day membership passes as coupons in the paper. Those could be good to use for every once in a while trips!

  • swimmy44

    I’M NOT A FAN OF WAREHOUSE STORES BUT AS THAT, COSTCO IS THE BEST. BEST PRICES FOR EYEGLASSES AND DOG FOOD AND MANY OTHER ITEMS. Yes the parking lot is crazy crowded, are best visited NOT on the weekend, and the gas line can be long (although usually it’s not bad) and they don’t work well for a small family unless you share – where I used to live I chipped in on the membership with a neighbor – now I’m paying but it pays for itself by my 3rd bag of Costco labelled natural dog food after two or three trips to purchase a 40 lb bag. We go through 5 or 6 a year so that’s really all I need to buy to justify the cost – $28 at Costco vs $50-60 for food with the same ingredients list at any pet food store. Since moving to California, Costco is much closer to my home and I have a choice of two stores so no complaints there. And they have the best – and cheapest – frozen yoghurt sundaes so I always time my visits for lunch!!!

    • Ahh, the sundaes. I would get those or the smoothies when my mom dragged me to Costco in high school. =)

      As for eyeglasses, I looked at Costco, but the best prices we have found ever are at a place called Optical Outlets, that I think might just be a FL chain. Some of the frames are name brand, many aren’t. But they have a huge selection and the prices are just insanely cheap. The last time I got glasses, when I brought the pair up and asked how much they would be with frames, the price just kept dropping. It started at around $160ish, and as she kept adding discounts, it ended up being completely covered with my cruddy VSP out-of-network coverage.

  • HOLY mackerel! I’d have been talking to the state AG and the feds so fast it would have made Jim Sinegal and Jeffrey Brotman’s heads spin! It smacks of fraud, no question about it.

    However, I do recall having seen a small, barely noticeable sign posted at a check out stand to the effect that if you hadn’t re-upped your membership they would charge it on your card. Proactively. As part of the grocery bill.

    So far, they’ve sent a statement reminding me that it’s time to buy a new membership. But come to think of it…hmm…i haven’t seen a statement in quite a while… That would blow my budget to smithereens, especially this month when three surprise bills put me in the red two weeks into the AMEX billing cycle.

    But I do like Costco. Lifetime supplies of various goods mean fewer trips to Costco and grocery stores, saving a lot of money over time. And it’s like a bazaar in there…so much amazing STUFF all around you and vendors handing out free foods and hawking demos — it’s a hoot. Some stores do have annoying parking lots, though. That’s for sure.
    Funny about Money recently posted..You Get What You Pay ForMy Profile

    • I guess if they hadn’t taken the charge off, we’d probably have escalated it – but when they did I was just so glad to be done with that issue. Not fun.

  • I do love Costco, though I do find I just buy a bunch of stuff and spend way more than I intended to each time. Not quite sure if it’s a real money saver place, but I still love it. It’s complicated haha
    Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses recently posted..Thailand Trip Days 5 & 6 – It Ain’t Called The Grand Palace for Nothin’My Profile

  • You really have reasons to hate them! BF has a membership supermarket card but we only go 2-3 times a year to stock on alcohol and imported products, otherwise, not worth the drive and the wait. They have the smallest car park too which is really annoying.
    Pauline recently posted..What I HATE about GuatemalaMy Profile

  • I’ve never been a member of any of the costco/sams club/bj’s type stores. I just don’ buy enough stuff to justify it. The situation with the Amex sounds pretty shady on their part, I would hold a grudge too. Stores can probably get away with this kind of stuff because who is really going to read everything they sign right then and there in the store!
    The First Million is the Hardest recently posted..The Case For A Higher Minimum WageMy Profile

    • Maybe the salesperson was well intentioned and totally thought Mr. PoP wanted a Costco Amex when he was zoned out waiting for her to stop talking so he could pay for some tires and head home. I’d like to think it wasn’t malevolence, but then why did he never get a card in the mail? It’s either a LOT of mistakes one on top of the other or something sketchy.

      • Elenor

        {wince} So, you blame Costco because the Mr. “zoned out” about a financial decision in person? And then he signed an application without looking it over — yes, reading it while standing there! You should have seen the look of horror on the closing lawyer’s face when I said I was going to just sit there at the closing and read the FOURTEEN pages I was about to mortgage my future for!

        Yeah, I’m being awfully defensive of my beloved Costco — but I think you are quite unfairly castigating it for a *joint* screw-up! (That’s Costco AND AMEX and your hubby!) I’m truly not fond of AMEX: I was not thrilled to “have” to get a Costco AMEX (because the Costco gas pumps — amazing prices on gas, by the way! — won’t take a non-Costco AMEX, and it was getting annoying to have to buy cash cards to fill the car), however, the payback (essentially free membership) is worthwhile. AND I watch my credit ratings like a hawk…

        So, still reading my way through your (very good) blog, maybe it address this somewhere, but: do y’all NOT check your credit rating quarterly? (For free, you know.) Scary! IF you use credit (and Dave Ramsey is wrong — so long as you CAN control yourself;his “rule for everyone” is actually a rule for some people!), then keeping an eye on what’s being reported in mandatory!

  • Wow that’s super shady of Costco to auto-renew your membership like that.
    My in-laws put us on their Costco membership when my wife was planning our wedding shower and used them to purchase the centerpiece flowers. We saved a lot of money on the flowers. But I agree that matching sales with coupons saves you way more money, plus you don’t risk overbuying quite as much.
    Justin@TheFrugalPath recently posted..In Debt and Out of Ideas? Draw Your Purchases.My Profile

  • Ivy

    The food saving strategy that works for us is shopping frequently (2-3 times a week) and get only the items we need for the next days, depending on what we are planning to cooks, etc. This is a strategy pretty much incompatible with warehouse stores, but we feel it reduces waste and is worth the trade off with higher prices.
    I had to laugh reading the $100 club point above – I went with a friend to Costco some years ago, they had some good quality food, but I never spent less than $100 indeed – this is exactly what I am thinking about when I hear Costco
    By the way, it may be that the card was sent in the mail, but since Mr PoP didn’t expect anything from Amex it went out unopened as a spam. I am often throwing away unopened spam envelopes, and I know a couple of times replacement cards went that way as well:-(

    • I’d love to be able to shop 2-3 times per week – that was what I did when I spent some time in Eastern Europe in college, and it was great to stop at the little veggie stand next the tram stop for exactly what I needed that night.

      As for the mail, you are definitely right that could have happened. I try and open all the mail now since there have been a couple of times where junk looking envelopes proved to be of vital importance!

  • “Skinny cow dilemma”

    This cracks me up!

    The phantom credit card though is scary. Too bad Costco was crappy about it; their customer service is usually pretty good.
    Mr. 1500 recently posted..Hitting the Open Road, 1500 StyleMy Profile

  • Wow, that’s pretty insane. I’ve never even been to a costco, I guess that makes me sort of an oddity. We do shop at BJS, but mostly just for tires. There’s only two of us so we don’t need 5 jars of pickles and 5 gallons of canola oil.
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  • Wow… a real hatred toward Costco… one of my favorite stores. However, I will say AMEX is from the pit! I wouldn’t blame Costco as they are separate entities… but, I certainly understand your frustration. I used them once and dumped them within months!!!

    But as for Costco… perhaps I can show you why you should love them!
    Doctor Stock recently posted..Canadian and US REITS – Out of Favour or Added Flavour?My Profile

    • I guess we are complete opposites! AmEx has been great to us with our rewards card since we got it last year. Good customer service, solid rewards, no surprises. What did they do to turn you off?

  • Brian

    We have been members for a couple years now. Maybe we are lucky (or we just know better), but when we show up at Costco is it usually not very busy. We have saved a lot of money on baby formula/diapers/wipes. Other than that, we don’t buy tons of stuff there.

  • Wow Mrs. Pop. That’s an awful experience. It’s really frustrating that such a large brand would have such shady practices. I really don’t need to buy anything in bulk, so I probably won’t be signing up for a membership there.
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  • Whoa. That’s a pretty intensely bad experience. I’ve shopped there on my siblings account a couple of times. Saved a tiny bit of money on diapers and wipes. Wasn’t too impressed. And then I couldn’t pay with my card. Had to pay the sibling back. I’m still not sure why. Won’t be signing up for a membership anytime soon!
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    • I think the deal is that you either have to use debit or American Express to shop there. No Visa, etc. I bet Amex gives them a discount on the fees for exclusivity.

  • I can see how if you have a bad experience with a certain retailer you’re not willing to visit them again. Same thing happened with me and Yoshinoya, and then Coldstone Creamery.
    But I haven’t had anything bad happen with Costco–although I wish I could go and then not spend more than $100.
    My work pays for my membership card, otherwise I wouldn’t go.

  • Coldstone? Oh no! Mr. PoP loves their ice cream. What happened there?

  • Wow, what an awful story. I have never been in a Costco in my life, so I can’t offer an opinion one way or the other. If it is anything like Sam’s, I’d rather shop just about anywhere. Huge stores make me anxious. Maybe it’s because I live in a small town, but even a big Walmart freaks me out a little. I much prefer the regular old normal size grocery store.

  • We don’t go to Costco as we don’t have a membership. I was watching a program on the tele yesterday about Costco. The President went on about how they are competitive and they do just about anything behind the scenes to make sure they have the best prices and products. They were showing how they test Kirkland toilet paper, the strength with machinery.. it was insane. Since I don’t shop there I can’t form an opinion but what I do know is that most people go in for a couple things and come out with a lot more. If you have a rotten experience with someone, the lease likely to return even though they all say the customer is always right.
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  • CF

    I do love a good vendetta 😉

    I don’t use Costco – I can’t imagine having to store so much stuff! We get comparable prices just by shopping sales at other markets. I sympathize though – my eyes also glaze over when it comes to signing paperwork. Bleh.
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  • Ugh wow that’s pretty terrible though good it got fixed for you! We don’t have a membership for the same reasons, I HATE going. There are a few things I like from costco- like their garbage bags and massive bags of bananas for less than $2 but I never step foot into the store, I get friends to buy it for me and I pay them!
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  • Becky

    Oh goodness, I came over here because your most recent post said that you hate Costco, so I had to read why. I hate going to Costco too. But the whole point of marriage is to get your spouse to do the things that you hate doing, like picking up dog poo and going to Costco, right? Costco does have quality dog food, so even when I lived in a tiny studio apartment all by myself, I still had a membership. Their Kirkland brand dog food has no corn, soy, wheat, or animal byproduct, and it’s about 50% the cost of dog foods with similar quality ingredients. Now that I’m married, I do the “regular” grocery shopping, and my hubs go to Costco. Seriously, the place stresses me out! (He loves it since he can get samples for free and a hotdog for cheap).

    • haha, Mr PoP does plenty of things I hate doing, but if anyone hates Costco more than me, it’s him – so he definitely wouldn’t go!

  • Ami

    Good to know! I’ll have to make sure mine is actually cancelled in February. Costco is crazy overrated, but I understand the sheeple mentality. They won’t miss me and I definitely won’t miss them.